What do you consume in extremely long distances?

Nedko Posts: 3
edited September 2018 in Training, fitness and health
Howdy all.

First of all I'm sorry if I post this on a wrong sub-forum.

I'll be participating on Dunav Ultra (more info here - https://dunavultra.com/teamwork18_en/?lang=en) - cycling the entire southern Bulgarian border (680 km) in just 48 hours. This cause so many questions that I didn't found the answer for myself so I just decided to ask more experienced community.

- What's the main food you consume on the bike? Gels in my opinion are okay for shorter distances (they helped me for ~200 brevet, but more than that is overkill for me), any raw bars are okay, but how much? What about protein bars?
- How often do you consume food? Classic timing is between 40 and 60 minutes that works for me (depending the food intake, of course);
- Do you bring protein powder with you?
- Do you consume any BCAA on the ride?
- How do you survive the 20h+ rides? My longest ride was 200+300 km in 2 days and the caffeine just didn't work for me the second day;
- How do you survive the contact zones pain (palms, ass, feet)? Do you have any pro tips to make my life less miserable?
- What would be the better ride strategy for my case? I'm planning first day to do as much as I can, probably ~400km, up to 3 hours sleep and 280 on the second day). Do you have better strategy on longer rides?
- Do you know what's the max protein intake for 24h in adult? I'm afraid after cycling 30+ hours to cross any limit.

I know that all of my questions are very personal and without more info you'll not be able to give me any advice where's my 200 km. training food intake:
- Raw bar in every 45 minutes, sip of water in every ~5 minutes, 50% of the water intake (total 8x700 ml. bottles) was with isotonic powder, on the 100'th km I drank one protein dose (30 mg), 2 coffees total.

Additional info:
- 32 years old male, 95 kg, my strava rides (https://www.strava.com/athletes/7373312);
- Bike - Villager from late 80', Dura-Ace 7400.

After I reread my post I found that my English is absolutely broken so sorry for the mistakes!


  • Nut butter filled ( stop sniggering, yes that’s a real thing) Bar Clif Energy bars are my new favourite on the go snack. They are a filled flapjack, with some very nice flavours ( especially the peanut butter ones )You do have to not have a nut allergy though. I’ll try and stop somewhere and have a proper feed, if I’m riding more than a club run distance. Wetherspoons burgers are normally superb, and I have a Wetherspoons app on my phone, so I don’t have to leave my stuff unattended at my table ( if I’m riding solo ) because I can order food and drink from the table. The ‘Empire state burger’ for example is superb fuel for a long second stint. That’s fine if you’re in the U.K. / England, I imagine you could find a similar sort of thing over there as well.
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    Your english is fine don't worry.

    I've never done that kind of distance, but variety in food is key as you probably already know. Your are going to be pushing your body pretty hard, it may react differently than normal to certain foods. Don't eat anything that you haven't had before would be one suggestion. I know when I'm on long rides in the later stages it gets hard to simply chew the real food as I just don't want to eat it, gels are great for me in those situations. I do get sick of sweet tasting food though, some savoury food is key for me to to keep the nausea away.

    Are there stops on the way where savoury food is available or is it all self-sufficient?

    I follow this thread with interest though.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    No experience of ultra long distances but for comfort on longer rides all I can suggest is optimising your bike fit, double wrapping bar tape, plenty of chamois cream and as much time on the bike as you can.

    Food wise I'd include plenty of savoury stuff as well as sweet things like flapjack & Haribo which can become a bit sickly. And take some sachets & tablets to make up energy drinks and electrolytes as you go
  • stevie63
    stevie63 Posts: 481
    If I were you I would ask this question over at the Audax part of YACF:

  • VamP
    VamP Posts: 674
    A friend who does ultra races does a lot of fasted training, hours and hours of z2 stuff, with z5 training on specific days - adapted polarized training. He fuels with normal food, slow release stuff on his rides, though will take bars, gels energy drinks whatever he can get, if carrying capacity is limited. He does test everything in training before using in a race as much as possible, though the multi day events can get a bit random.

    He also trains his psychology to cope with sleep deprivation, hallucinations etc. Short power naps rather than longer sleeps he reckons - 30 minutes or so, but more frequently.

    He's done some races in the Balkans and tells amusing tales of bears and packs of wild dogs. Good luck!
  • Brakeless
    Brakeless Posts: 865
    Just eat normal food. I've ridden over a dozen 600km Audaxes and 5 x 1000km+ rides. Stop for twenty minutes eat some decent food then cary on till the next meal time with a few snacks on the bike. Limit time off the bike so you can ride at a steady sustainable level and you won't need specific 'energy' food. I use one bottle of water and one bottle of carb drink. I have a couple of gels with me in case of a real energy emergency but have only ever used them a couple of times on long distance rides. As for contact points you'll always have an issue with something on a long ride but comfy saddle, decent shorts and chammy cream work for me. I also use aero bars as much for a change of position as for speed. The thing to do though is listen to lots of advice but then work out what works for you. The only way you'll do this is to get out and ride.
  • Thanks to you all.

    I've finished successfully the 680 km. challenge.

    * In every 2 hours I took one protein dose;
    * In every 2 hours I took BCAA;
    * I have 2x700 ml. bottles - one in isotonic drink and one in plain water;
    * In ~5 hours I ate omelet or boiled eggs.

    * Aero-bars are priceless - not for speed, but for the wrist comfort;
    * 6.5 atm are the best for Bulgarian routes.

    Biggest mistake:
    * The biggest mistake I did on the ride was that I left my small saddle bag on the service car. When I got the second puncture 20 km. before the finish line without spare inner tube/co2/pump the feeling wasn't cool.

    Thanks again for the great tips, your help is really appreciated!